Asha, Circuit Queen


I recently posted a sequence of three videos of Asha playing with this circuit. This is a piece from the middle, including me rescuing the ball she trapped, and pesky interruptions from the other cats.  The track is the Bergan Star Chaser Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy and the cube – another much loved toy – is the Ninja Cat Cube, both from Amazon.




The Wheel


**Sorry – the videos aren’t playing, so I’ve replaced them with stills**.

As the fosters continued to grow, playing in their bathroom and then their bedroom, I ordered a couple of special toys for the big kitties to keep them out of mischief. The first was the Maclaw Wheel.

I was prompted to investigate a cat wheel because of Pip. A kind and gentle kitty, Pip had an abundance of energy, and burning it off sometimes involved a little rough play. He wasn’t mean or bullying, just very energetic. There was lots of galloping around the apartment but I worried 2014-11-06 1415315246about what went on in the kitties’ room at night.

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After investigating wheels extensively, I came to the conclusion that the well made ones were too expensive to buy, and way too expensive to ship to me in the Philippines. I found an excellent forum based in Hong Kong by a lady designing a wheel, and she had researched the optimum diameter, tread width and tread materials. From there I found a couple of You Tube videos that showed how to make a wheel, so with a few minor tweaks, I came up with a design that could be made locally.

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With some recommendations, I found two carpenters who were prepared to make a wheel for me. The first quote came in at more expensive than to buy one, which I wasn’t expecting, and the other was perfectly reasonable, and – to my delight – it would be ready in a week! Well a week passed, then two weeks, then four weeks and still no wheel. Each time I followed up, there were excuses and delays and problems. Eventually I requested the half-finished wheel to be delivered as is, and I would figure out how to get it finished. The wheel arrived and I was horrified. Not only were all the materials poor quality, second-hand, rusted or damaged, but the wheel had been left out in the rain so the shape was considerably warped. It was useless, good only for scrap.

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After such a disappointing experience, I was determined to have a wheel, so I decided to just accept it was going to be expensive, and I purchased the Maclaw Wheel. A custom wheel could take weeks or months to make, as there were many in the queue, so I opted for a pre-made one. When it arrived at my apartment just a week or two later from the UK, Lyn and I couldn’t wait to assemble it, and we were amazed at how easy it was. From the time we got it out of the enormous box to complete assembly was probably about 10 minutes.

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I often get asked if I had to train the kitties to use it – I wish I had a camera handy while we were assembling it. Pip and Asha were most curious. Maxi was watching nearby, coming for an occasional sniff. Kai was of course watching from a safe distant place. Before it was even in place, Pip was on it. He figured it out with remarkable speed, and of course Asha, always game for anything another kitty is doing, especially if it means attention, hopped on it as well.  I never force a kitty to use any of their toys, and Maxi and Kai never showed an interest, but the wheel was an immediate hit with Pip and Asha.


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And a few extra bits…..


The backstory to my acquisition of kitties is that after a year in India and 6 months leading up to it, I was completely burnt out. In that 18 months I hadn’t spent more than 3 weeks straight in the same location, frequently travelling between India, Philippines and Australia with a few trips to Hong Kong, UK and Europe. So when all of my kitties were welcomed into my home, I was there full time, being completely reclusive and asocial while I mulled over what I would do next. If I hadn’t gone on a crazy cat lady rampage, I might have taken another corporate job instead of going it alone, so I’m forever grateful that I had this year-long career break and the ever-increasing crew to keep me company.

And now that I’m getting the hang of this blog thingy, here is one of my favourite videos of Pip, who always loves to sleep in the funniest positions:

And the first ever video of Asha, when she was still confined to the bathroom:

Here she was, stuck like a beetle on its back because of that tummy of hers…. She hadn’t met Pip and Maxi at this stage, this was one of her excursions to the big kitties playground.